Former Brewers closer Doug Jones has died at 64, reportedly from complications from COVID-19

Tom Haudricourt
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Onetime Brewers closer Doug Jones saved 303 games during a 16-year career in the majors and was a five-time all-star.

Doug Jones, an original draft pick of the Brewers who circled back to Milwaukee nearly 20 years later as a highly successful closer, died Monday at 64, reportedly of complications from COVID-19.

The death of Jones originally was announced on Twitter by former Cleveland teammate Greg Swindell, a close friend.

Jones saved 303 games during a 16-year career in the majors, making all-star teams five times despite being one of the softest tossers in the game. His fastball barely got into the 80 mph range) but he bedeviled hitters with a tantalizing changeup that had them flailing at pitches before they arrived at the plate.

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Selected by the Brewers in the third round of the January 1978 draft, Jones had some of his best years with Cleveland, recording 129 saves, third-most in franchise history, with three all-star appearances.

Known as well for his bushy mustache as well as his changeups, Jones returned to the Brewers in 1996 as a free agent. The following season, at age 40, he compiled a 2.02 ERA over 75 appearances while converting 36 of 38 save opportunities. 

On Sept. 23, 1997, Jones closed out a 7-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals with an "immaculate" ninth inning, striking out Johnny Damon, Scott Cooper and Rod Myers on nine pitches. In 846 games with seven clubs in the major leagues, Jones was 69-79 with a 3.30 ERA.